By Marc H. Morial, President of the National Urban League
“We want to make sure we are understanding what the players are talking about, and that is complex.” – National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell
When San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick last year began kneeling during the National Anthem at the start of games, he explained: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
Only a handful of players had joined his protest by the start of the current season, until President Trump urged the team owners to fire the protesters. At the next game more than 200 players sat, knelt or raised their fists in protest. Owners, coaches and staff joined the players in a demonstration of solidarity.
As a lifelong football fan and